By Michael Easter; photography by Unsplash
You can even do one of them in your sleep.
If you’re exercising for weight loss, you know the common conundrum: Sweat sessions may make you want to eat more. (Runger, or post-run hunger, is a real thing.) But guess what? So does sleepiness. A University of Pennsylvania study found that people who slept less than six hours a night over a week consumed nearly 3000 more kilojoules a day than those who logged seven or more. When you’re exhausted, the belly-rumbling hormone ghrelin skyrockets, while the fullness-curbing hormone leptin falls.
MOVE THROUGHOUT THE DAY
People who run, cycle, and swim report better sleep quality than those who don’t, according to a study by the national Sleep Foundation. But they see that effect only on exercising days. That’s why the movement you do outside the gym is just as crucial. Walking is something you can do every day for more consistent slumber. Take a walk at work to grab some water, or stretch every 20 minutes, says Doug Kechijian, physical therapist at Resilient Performance PT in New York City.
FIND YOUR TRUE BEDTIME
You might be tracking every step, workout, and kilojoules to drop the kilos. Sleep? Probably not, says Dr Christopher Winter, author of The Sleep Solution. Some of his clients spend nine hours a night in bed and complain that the first one or two are all tossing and turning. He has those people wear a basic sleep tracker and report back in two weeks. “The data often tells me the person needs only seven or eight hours a night,” says Winter. “That extra hour or two they spend in bed is just wasted time.” For two weeks, track your Zs with a wearable device, then average how long you snooze on good nights. Use that number to determine your ideal bed and wake hours. Now put your newfound time to work: Catch up on e-mails so the following day you have some free time for healthy meal prep or a lunch workout. Or train yourself to sleep and wake two hours earlier, using the mornings for a brisk walk or a quick strength session.
READ MORE: 7 Easy Hacks For Your Best Sleep Ever
CHILL, CHILL, CHILL
A dropping body temperature helps you fall and stay asleep, but a toasty room prevents that process. So lower your thermostat one degree a week until it’s as low as you can stand, says Winter. “The other potential benefit of sleeping in the cold,” he says, “is that your body has to work to keep you warm, so over the course of the night you may naturally burn more kilojoules.” a study in Diabetes found that people who slept in a 18°C room increased their brown fat—a metabolically active form of fat—by 42 percent, which the researchers say may be enough to spur weight change.
This article was originally featured on www.womenshealthmag.com